BEHIND BARS: The 41-year-old will serve years in jail for his crime. Picture: contributed
BEHIND BARS: The 41-year-old will serve years in jail for his crime. Picture: contributed

Man jailed for sexual abuse of six-year-old daughter

A SOUTHERN Downs man has been sentenced to almost three years in jail for sexually abusing his six-year-old daughter in their home.

On an unknown date in 2013 or 2014, the 41-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identity, locked himself in a room with his daughter and performed a sex act over her.

Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso told the court that there "could be no greater example of a breach of trust" than the father's actions.

Ms Kelso added that the man showed a "lack of remorse" for his actions in pleading 'not guilty' to the crime, even after the verdict had been handed down.

"The fact that (the man) has just expressed his plea of innocence to Your Honour, despite the verdict, shows a reluctance to accept his conduct," she said.

Defence barrister Jessica Goldie said the 41-year-old had several mental health concerns, including adult ADHD and depression, and had lost his relationship with both his daughter and her older brother as a result of the abuse.

The man was convicted of one count of the indecent treatment of a child under 12 of lineal descent.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years' jail, but will be eligible for release halfway through and will go on to serve a four-year suspended sentence.

The 41-year-old will also be registered as a reportable child sex offender.

Judge Ken Barlow said the man's otherwise clean criminal history weighed in his favour, though reproached him for putting his daughter through the trial process

"This was a one-off offence - you have never treated your daughter in that way or any sexual way before or after this occasion," Judge Barlow said.

"It's inexplicable why you would do this, and it's a very serious offence, especially to do it to your daughter who was only six years old.

"It's very fortunate that this event has not had a substantial or long-term effect on her."